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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Should Atheists Unite?

Richard Dawkins, the person who deserves a lifetime achievement award from somewhere for his endless campaign against God, has come out with his new book “The God Delusion” which is a relentless attack on gods, their supposed messiahs, and religions. Apart from his delightful attacks; he suggests that atheists must unite to counter the challenge from religious extremists. In fact he urges atheists to organize themselves to a point of strength similar to the Christian conservatives in the USA. And for once, I disagree with Dawkins.

I fear that by creating an organization; atheists may fall in to the same traps and pitfalls of organized religion. I believe while many of the recent and past horrors happened apparently because of religion; the underlying factor was not religion but the tendency to identify oneself extremely strongly with a tribe and the regarding non-tribe members as subhuman and worthy of elimination and rape. And this tendency to organize as a tribe and massacre keeps coming again and again in the form of religion, nationalism, skin color etc. By creating a similar organized tribe of atheists will lead them to the same path of doom and hypocrisy since atheists are after all human animals.

I believe what is required on a universal basis is an ability to love oneself and also have compassion for everyone else as fellow humans: a faith on ones own ability for independent reasoning freed from irrational dictates from mighty old books and state propaganda. Can’t everyone be his or her own messiah? While it may seem sensible to form a power group to save world; that’s exactly what the crusaders and jehadists also thought and think; and in the process they start making their own hate rules and hate targets. Atheism is not just opposing god; it’s an outcome of a much tougher thought process to regard everyone else as humans worthy of respect and regard oneself capable of being right in arriving at that conclusion.


Unknown said...

Just wanted to share my thoughts on this issue. You are right. Fanatacism cannot be countered with fanatacism and atheists are supposed to be liberal. However, there is another issue. Assume you are an animal lover and an atheist at the same time and the growth of Hinduism/Jainism is good for the animal welfare activist in you as people adopting these religions could turn towards vegeterianism. So, in that case, would it not make sense for you to counter atheism with less vigour since your priority is different?

Anonymous said...

I completely agree !! I felt the same about Dawkins - that he is proposing to do precisely what he is, in principle, opposing. And that is also my sole grouse with the Father of Reason - Burtrand Russell. Russell's reasoning and ability to see 'both sides' of any situation was amazing, but I found this balance sadly lacking when it came to religion, even though I immensely enjoyed his 'Why I am not a Christian'.

I think each of us needs to find our own anchor, and if some find it in religion - so be it - as long as they do not then expect religion to be everyone's anchor. Ditto for atheism.

Btw, your earlier blog had the meaning - an atheist trying to find the meaning of it all - which seemed to imply that an atheist needs to 'struggle' harder to find meaning than a believer - or was that just me reading too much meaning into it :-) Write on !!

Shivaji said...

I am sorry, I didnt get your point.
Means ar as important as ends i guess.

My tagline didn't imply that. But on second thoughts, atheists being sceptics, may need a long time to arrive at the meaning of life in case there is any.